How to Cook Asian Greens

Oiled Greens

If you’ve always wanted to make Asian greens taste like the dish you order in a Chinese restaurant, this is how.

Ingredients

1 bunch Chinese broccoli (gai lan) (about 250g)

2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp vegetable oil

 

Oyster Sauce

¼ cup oyster sauce

¼ cup coarse stock, chicken stock or water

¼ tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp stock or water

 

Method

  1. Trim the Chinese broccoli of any dry ends and rinse it well in cold water. Cut into 10cm lengths, grouping together the thick stalks, thin stalks and leaves separately. Split any very thick stalks in half lengthwise.
  2. Bring 2L of water to a rolling boil and add the salt. Add the thick stalks and boil for about a minute, then add the thin stalks and the leaves on top. Pour over the vegetable oil and boil for a further 2 minutes, occasionally shaking the greens in the water with tongs or chopsticks to coat them in the oil and to dissolve the salt into the water. Remove from the water and drain well.
  3. For the oyster sauce, bring the oyster sauce and stock to a simmer, then add the cornflour mixture. Stir until thickened then remove from the heat.
  4. Serve the greens as they are, or with some of the oyster sauce poured over the top.

CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO OF THIS RECIPE. 

This recipe is from Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School, page 133.

 

Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School

Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny Soup

For more recipes and great food ideas, follow me on Instagram. For recipe videos, hit up my Youtube channel.

This soup was born out of the times of the British Raj, with obvious English and Indian influences. The addition of rice is all important, and I like it when it’s cooked almost to a porridge-y consistency.

Ingredients

1 tbsp each butter and olive oil

1 large onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic

1½ tbsp curry powder

1 tsp garam masala

2 tsp salt

1 can diced tomatoes (400g)

1.5L chicken stock

½ cup washed uncooked brown rice, or jasmine rice

1 Granny smith apple, peeled and finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 small sweet potato, peeled and finely diced

2 cups cooked shredded chicken (optional)

coriander and yoghurt, to serve

 

Method

 

  1. Heat a large pot over high heat and fry the onion and garlic in the butter and olive oil. Add the curry powder, garam masala, salt and tomatoes and fry for a minute until the spices are fragrant.
  2. Add the chicken stock and the brown rice and simmer covered for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally. Add the apple, carrot and sweet potato and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Adjust for seasoning with a little salt if necessary.
  3. Stir through the Shredded chicken and a little yoghurt, and scatter with chopped coriander to serve.

This recipe is from my third cookbook, Adam’s Big Pot.

Adam's-Big-Pot-Cover-(Low-Res-Web)

Fish Sauce Roast Chicken

Fish Sauce Roast Chicken (1 of 1)

 

For more recipes and great food ideas, follow me on Instagram. For recipe videos, head over to my Youtube channel.

If you sometimes get sick of the same old roast chicken, the sticky Thai flavours in this bird will be a welcome change. Even if you don’t like fish sauce, don’t be deterred; all that’s left of that fishy, pungent taste after roasting is a thick, caramelised glaze that’s full of flavour.

Ingredients

1 whole 1.75kg free-range chicken

1 red onion, peeled and chopped into eighths

Marinade

1/3 cup (80mls) fish sauce

1 whole coriander plant, roughly chopped (including one single root, and all stems and leaves), some leaves reserved for garnish

1 clove garlic, sliced

2 tbsp caster sugar

3 birdseye chillies, finely sliced

juice of ½ lemon

Method

  1. Heat your oven to 180C (fan-forced). Mix all of the marinade ingredients together, and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside while you prepare the chicken.
  2. Rinse the chicken under running water and pat it dry inside and out with paper towel.  [Update: Recent British NHS guidelines released after this post recommend against washing poultry before cooking.] With kitchen scissors or a heavy knife, cut down either side of the backbone of the chicken and remove the backbone completely. Remove the wishbone if you like, as this will make carving the breast easier after the chicken is cooked. Press down on the breast of the chicken to flatten it. (Discard the backbone or, if you prefer, chop it into large pieces and place the pieces into the roasting tray to add more flavor to the pan juices.)
  3. Work your fingers under the skin of the breast and thighs. Spoon the marinade over the inside and outside of the chicken, as well as between the skin and meat, getting as much of the solid ingredients in the marinade under the skin as you can. Place the onion in a roasting tray and lay the chicken skin-side up on top of the onion.
  4. Roast for 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes. Remove the chicken when the skin is dark and caramelised (it will be darker than a normal roast chicken from the caramelised sugars), and the meat is only just cooked through. Rest the chicken in a warm place for at least 10 minutes.
  5. While the chicken is resting, pour the juices from the pan into a jug, leave the onions in the tray. Skim off any liquid fat. Pour the juices back into the roasting pan with the onions and place the pan over heat. Stir the pan juices together with the onions and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Spoon the sauce and onions over the chicken, scatter with the reserved coriander leaves and serve.

This recipe appears in my second cookbook, Asian After Work.

AAW Cover - Web

Asian After Work is finally here!

AAW Cover Shot Landscape (1 of 1)

 

I’m so pleased to announce that after months of hard work and a lot of love, my new book Asian After Work is finally available in bookstores around Australia.

It’s a book full of real Asian recipes that are simple and easy to make, and which use ingredients you can find at your ordinary local supermarket. It’s the kind of stuff I used to cook for years when I worked an office.

You can read a little more about the book here.

If you’re outside Australia, don’t worry. I’ll update this post with further news of international releases as I find out about them. There may even be a bit of a surprise coming too 😉

UPDATE (11 October 2013): Asian After Work is now available WORLDWIDE as an ebook through iTunes HERE!

Very shortly I’ll be posting a few sample recipes from the book on this site so please check back soon.

I really want to thank the fantastic team that helped put it together. My publisher Vanessa Radnidge at Hachette, my editor Jacquie Brown, my exceptional stylist Lisa La Barbera, the best home economist in the business Nick Eade, the amazing Steve Brown who photographs all my books, and the design king Reuben Crossman. Most of all though I’d really like to thank my wife, my grandmother and my mother (to whom I’ve dedicated the book). Strong, caring and inspiring women who I am lucky to have in my life.

I hope you enjoy the book. It’s one I’m just so proud to have written.

Happy cooking!

Adam

AAW Cover - Web

 

 

Authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice

This post has been through a number of revisions of the years. A few little changes to the recipe as my style of making it changes, as well as additional information added for those who want to know a little bit more about the dish. You can jump ahead to the recipe and video below, but if you want to read on I’ve now included a bit of background on one of Southeast Asia’s most influential dishes.

For those new to it, Hainanese Chicken Rice is a dish primarily attributed to Malaysia and Singapore although versions exist in Thailand (khao man gai) Vietnam (com ga) and Indonesia as well. It was created by migrants from the island of Hainan in China’s far south who arrived in Southeast Asia around the turn of the 20th century. My family is Hainanese, and my grandfather arrived in Malaysia from Hainan in around 1915.

The dish itself is based on a traditional Hainanese delicacy called Wenchang chicken. Specific free-roaming chickens from the Hainanese town of Wenchang are fed on peanut bran, coconut and various other things and they are famed for their generous fat, flavourful meat and tender skin. The most prized birds are the capons, huge 3-4 kilogram castrated roosters with incredible flavour. On Hainan, the Wenchang chickens are usually boiled just in salted water with the pure flavour of the bird itself. It’s then served with a sauce of some kind, which can vary from establishment to establishment. One popular sauce is made from salt-fermented crushed yellow chillies. The orange-coloured ginger and chilli sauce served with Hainanese chicken rice in Southeast Asia is an adaptation of this.

Wenchang chickens on Hainan.

Cooked Wenchang chicken as served in Haikou, Hainan.

Of course, the dish is Hainanese chicken rice is very different from its origins in Wenchang chicken. The elements are generally (1) free-range or kampong chicken poached in a broth This recipe is my own, a combination of what I learned from my Hainanese grandmother (my grandfather passed away before I was born), my Singaporean-English mother, and my elderly cousin who ran a very popular chicken rice stall in Singapore for more than 40 years (it’s now closed).

I’ve written about Hainanese Chicken Rice for the Wall Street Journal (Chicken Rice for the Soul) and published versions of this recipe in two of my six cookbooks (my grandmother’s “Original Recipe” in Two Asian Kitchens) as well as this updated and version which appears in my latest book Destination Flavour: People and Places, which is a combination of recipes from my SBS television series of the same name.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

1 large whole chicken (about 1.7 kg), at room temperature

5cm fresh unpeeled ginger

2 tsp salt

1/2  tsp monosodium glutamate, or 1 tsp chicken stock powder (optional)

1 tbsp sesame oil

coriander, to serve

sliced cucumber, to serve

 

Ginger and spring onion oil

2 tbsp fresh grated ginger

½ tsp salt flakes

4 spring onions, thinly sliced, green tops reserved

¼ cup peanut oil

 

Chicken Rice

3 1/3 cups (675g) jasmine rice

1/4 cup (approx.) vegetable oil

4 garlic cloves

2 eschallots, roughly sliced (or 1 brown onion, roughly sliced)

2-3 pandan leaves (optional)

 

Dressing

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1 cup chicken stock from poaching chicken

 

Chilli Sauce for Chicken

4-6 red birds-eye chillies

6 thick slices of peeled fresh ginger

6 garlic cloves

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 – 1 cup chicken stock from poaching chicken

2 tbsp calamansi lime juice (or other tart citrus juice)

2 tbsp rendered chicken fat (or other oil)

 

Method

For the ginger and spring onion oil, pound the ginger and salt to a rough paste with a heatproof mortar and pestle. Add the spring onion and pound lightly to combine. Heat the peanut oil in a small frypan until it is smoking then pour the hot oil over the ginger mixture. Stir, then set aside until ready to serve.

For the chilli sauce, pound the chilli, ginger, garlic, sugar and salt together in a mortar and pestle until very smooth. Pounding chilli can take some time so to speed up the process you can start it in a blender or food processor and pound to finish, or grate the ingredients into the mortar using a rasp grater. Add the boiling stock to the pounded mixture. You can vary the amount of stock depending on the consistency of the chilli sauce you’re after. Stir in the juice, then adjust the seasoning if necessary so that the balance of sweet, sour and salty tastes is pleasant. Heat the chicken oil in a small saucepan until hot, the pour over the chilli mixture and stir to combine.

Remove the fat deposits from inside the cavity of the chicken, near the tail. Roughly chop the fat and place in a small frying pan over very low heat to render. Render the chicken fat, stirring occasionally for about an hour until you all the fat is rendered and the solids are crisp. Remove the solids and use them for another purpose. Reserve the chicken oil.

To begin poaching the chicken, pound the unpeeled ginger in a mortar and pestle and add to a large pot containing about 4 litres of water, along with the tops of the spring onions used for the ginger and spring onion oil. Add the salt and MSG or chicken stock powder (if using) and bring to the boil over high heat. Taste the water and adjust the amount of salt so that it tastes savoury and a little salty. Reduce the heat to very low and add the chicken to the pot. There should be enough water in the pot so that the chicken doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot, as that will cause the skin to tear. Lift the chicken in and out of the water a couple of times to change the liquid in the chicken’s cavity. If you have poultry hooks, use them to hang the chickens in the pot (see video below). The water should now be steaming but not bubbling. Keep the heat low at this level and cook the chicken for 45 minutes.

Using the poultry hook (or slotted ladle), carefully lift the chicken out of the pan, ensuring you don’t break the skin, and plunge into a large bowl or sink of salted iced water. Reserve the stock and stand the chicken in the iced water for at least 10 minutes, turning once. This will stop the cooking and give the skin its delicious gelatinous texture. Remove from the iced water and hang over a bowl or the sink to drain well. Rub the skin all over with the sesame oil. The chicken should be cooked very lightly, pink inside the bones and with a gelatinous skin.

To make the chicken rice, pound the garlic and eschallot (or onion) to roughly bruise with a mortar and pestle. Combine the rendered chicken oil with vegetable oil to make ½ a cup of oil. Heat in a wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger stir until starting to brown, then strain through a sieve. Reserve the oil and discard the solids. Place the rice in a rice cooker or heavy-based saucepan. Add about 1.2L of the reserved stock from the chicken (strained) and the reserved flavoured chicken oil (or use the proportions as indicated on your rice cooker). Tie the pandan leaves in a knot (if using) and add to the rice. If cooking in a pot, bring to the boil over high heat and continue to boil for about 5 minutes until the level of the liquid reaches the top of the rice, then reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and cook for 12 minutes, then remove from the heat and stand for another 10 minutes.

For the dressing, combine the ingredients with about half a cup of the stock from cooking the chicken. When the rice is ready, use a cleaver to slice and debone the chicken Chinese-style and pour the dressing over it. Scatter with the coriander sprigs, and serve with sliced cucumber, tomato and serve with the rice and sauces.

Family-style chicken rice.

Key Tips for Hainanese Chicken Rice

  • The key to this whole dish is seasoning the stock. If you find the stock, chicken, rice or sauces taste a little insipid, it is because the stock is not correctly seasoned. Taste the stock after cooking the chicken, it should taste like a strongly savoury chicken stock. If it tastes weak, add a little more salt. You can also boost it with a dash of fish sauce if you like, or some MSG if you are not opposed to it. Alternatively, do as I mention in the video and cook 2 chickens at once.
  • Please don’t overcook the chicken. A slow, gentle simmer for 45 minutes will produce chicken with a very pale pink blush to the meat and the inside of the thigh bones should be bright pink. If they are brown or grey the chicken is over cooked. That’s OK, but the texture will not quite be right.
  • Often in Singapore this will be served with thick black cooking caramel or kecap manis over the chicken, but I prefer the sesame dressing included here.
  • When making the chilli sauce, look for the colour of the sauce, rather than following the recipe exactly. It should be a bright orange, and that colour will give you a good indication of the proportion of chilli to ginger and garlic. The heat of the sauce should depend on the kind of chillies used, not the amount. The flavour of chilli in this sauce is more important than the heat.

This recipe appears in my new cookbook, Destination Flavour: People and Places (2018) which follows my travels across my SBS television series of the same name. The book covers Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Singapore and China.

 

 

Sriracha Hot Wings with Avocado Kewpie

This is a really simple recipe that I make all the time when I have friends around. The heat of Sriracha and the richness of butter is a fantastic contrast to the cooling avocado and mayonnaise. These wings are a perfect match for a couple of ice-cold beers and a game of football on the TV.

Sriracha Hot Wings with Avocado Kewpie

Wings
1.5kg chicken wings (about 12-15 wings)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt

Sriracha Wing Sauce
75g unsalted butter
4 tbsp Sriracha chilli sauce
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp Worchestershire sauce
¼ tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp onion powder
1 tsp caster sugar

Avocado Kewpie
1 ripe avocado
3 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste

Cut the wings through the joints into the drumette, winglette and wing-tips. Keep the wing-tips for stock (don’t throw them out) and toss the drumettes and winglettes in the garlic powder, onion powder, sugar and salt. Cover and leave for at least 30 minutes, or put in the fridge overnight. (If keeping them in the fridge , return the wings to room temperature before roasting.)

Preheat the oven to 220C (fan forced) and grease an oven tray or rack with peanut oil. Roast the wings for 30 minutes, turning once until browned and crispy. Meanwhile, make the Sriracha Wing Sauce by whisking together all the ingredients in a saucepan until it is well combined and just simmering. Remove from the heat and toss the wings in the sauce until well coated.

For the Avocado Dip, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and then adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle the dip and wings with a little black pepper and serve.

Malaysian Lamb Shank Curry

Hearty lamb shank dishes are a winter staple in Australia, but this dish is a great one for times like now just as the weather starts to warm. We often think of lamb shanks as a hearty winter dish, but lamb curries in South East Asia work fantastically well in warmer weather.  This dish crosses the boundary of the seasons and takes advantage of the great spring lamb that we have in Australia, and matches it with the nostalgic Malaysian flavours I grew up with.

Malaysian Lamb Shank Curry

Curry Paste

  • 3 brown onions (or 6-8 red schallots)
  • 15 small dried red chillies, seeds removed and soaked in hot water until soft
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp belacan
  • 5 candlenuts
Curry Ingredients
  • ½ cup neutrally flavoured oil
  • 1.75kg lamb shanks (about 6 shanks), (Alternatively, you could use 1.5kg lamb chops, or 1kg boneless lamb leg, cubed)
  • 400ml coconut cream
  • 400ml water or White Chicken Stock
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • a handful of curry leaves, picked

Make the curry paste by processing all the paste ingredients together to a fine paste. If you have time, I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe freezing the paste in portions for later use.

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the paste for 5-10 minutes until it is coloured and fragrant, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add the lamb shanks to the paste and oil and lightly brown on all sides. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pot, bring to the boil and simmer covered for about 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 1 to 1.5 hours until the meat is very tender, pulls away easily from the bone and the liquid has reduced to a thick gravy.

Cover the curry and allow it to cool on the stove. Refrigerate overnight if possible. Reheat and adjust seasoning before serving. Serve with white rice and sliced cucumbers.

Dragon Yee Sang

Chinese New Year is coming up in a few days and I so I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite CNY dishes.

Yee Sang is a very popular Chinese New Year dish around Malaysia and Singapore (Do people eat this in China or Hong Kong? I really don’t know), and my family usually eat this on the eve of Chap Goh Meh, which is the 15th and final day of the new year festival.

Yee Sang is a colourful salad of prosperous ingredients, which are tossed together with a sweet dressing. Everyone around the table puts their chopsticks into the salad and tosses it high in the air. The superstition goes that the higher the salad is tossed, the more luck that will come in the new year. It’s can get a bit messy, but tossing the yee sang are some of my favourite memories of my childhood.

There are lots of recipes for Yee Sang around, and most of them use raw salmon or smoked salmon but I thought that this year, because it is the year of the Water Dragon, I would use lobster sashimi instead. Of course, if you want a more traditional yee sang, just substitute the lobster sashimi with another raw fish.

Chinese new year foods are full of symbolism – Fish symbolise wealth because ‘yu’, the Chinese word for fish, is synonymous with the words for wealth and abundance. Long noodles signify a long life. Oranges signify good luck, and pomelos or grapefruits also signify wealth and prosperity. One of the most popular areas of symbolism is the balance between yin and yang, or the dragon and phoenix. In food the dragon is often symbolised by lobster or prawns, and the phoenix is often symbolised by pheasant or chicken. In this year of the Water Dragon, what could be more fitting than a celebratory dish paying homage to the symbolic Water Dragon, the lobster.

Dragon Yee Sang

Ingredients

  • 1 live lobster
  • 6 wonton wrappers
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • ½ Continental cucumber, peeled, deseeded and julienned
  • ½ daikon white radish, julienned
  • 6 leaves Chinese cabbage (hakusai, lombok), shredded
  • 1 cup pomelo or grapefruit, torn into small pieces (peel, pith, seeds and any membrane removed)
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked
  • 2 tbsp Japanese red pickled ginger (benishouga)

Dressing

  • 150ml plum sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice of 2-3 limes
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • ¼ tsp five spice powder

Method

  1. Slice the wonton wrappers into thin strips and deep fry in batches in hot oil until crispy, then set aside to drain. Don’t fry too many at one time or they will stick together. Also, it’s best not to slice the wrappers all stacked together, or they may clump on the board. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frypan until golden brown and then set aside to cool.
  2. Julienne the cabbage, daikon, carrot and cucumber. Arrange these on a large platter and separately place on the pickled ginger, coriander and wonton crisps around in separate piles.
  3. To prepare the lobster, chill the lobster in the freezer for about 2 hours until it is asleep. Kill it quickly with a spike through the head and separate the meaty tail from the head. Cut down either side of the soft underside of the lobster and remove the flesh from the shell using your hands, and using a paring knife if necessary. Remove the vein from the lobster as neatly as possible and wipe away any residue. Although I don’t recommend this, if the lobster meat is very dirty and you feel that you have to, you can rinse the meat very quickly in a mixture of iced water and salt (using enough salt to give the mixture the saltiness of seawater).
  4. Heat a large pot of water until boiling and add the lobster head and tail shell to the pot and boil until the shell changes colour. Clean the shells and remove any meat that was clinging to the shell, reserving it for another purpose (an egg white omelette with cream and spring onion is perfect, or you can just dip it in a little yuzu kosho tabasco – but that’s a recipe for another time…)
  5. With a very sharp knife, slice the lobster into very thin slices and arrange over the centre of the salad.
  6. If you would like to use the tail for presentation, clean it well with a paper towel and, if it’s looking a little dull, polish the outside with a small amount of oil.
  7. For the dressing, mix together all the ingredients.

To serve, gather everyone together and give them a pair of chopsticks each. Pour over the sauce and scatter with sesame seeds. Everyone reaches in with their chopsticks to toss the salad. Toss it as high as you can for good luck!

Huevos Coreanos

 

If you ever felt inclined to make a list of “food trends” for the past couple of years, “adding kimchi to everything” and “Mexican-Asian fusion” would both certainly be near the top. It seems that everywhere you turn these days there’s a kimchi quesadilla, spicy pork burrito or bulgogi taco. David Chang and Roy Choi should be getting royalties for this stuff.  Paying too much attention to food trends is a often a dangerous thing to do, but  love them or hate them, there’s no doubt that a tasty dish is a tasty dish. Let’s not take ourselves (or our food) too seriously.

I love breakfast, but as a meal it’s often overlooked as a source of variety. Day in and day out we turn to toast, cereal, bacon, the occasional pancake, and then add some eggs – fried, poached or scrambled. Even the simple and delicious breakfast dish of Eggs Benedict has lately been co-opted by brunch, that most mystifying and indefinable of meals. But such is the lack of respect we in the West tend to afford our breakfast. It’s ironic really, considering just how versatile eggs can be.

It’s easy to see where we get disillusioned by breakfast. We are constrained by time, ingredients, appetite and nutritional value.  We need something that’s fast, nutritionally balanced, not too difficult on the stomach and which will carry us through to lunch (forget brunch). But in the face of this adversity, we form solutions. I think the constraints of breakfast can be a source of great creativity, as we are almost forced to think outside the box.

Taking the old Mexican favourite, Huevos Rancheros (Cowboy’s Eggs) and combining it with some very good kimchi and enoki mushrooms resulted in this dish, which will definitely be taking its place in my kitchen’s breakfast repertoire.

 

Huevos Coreanos – Korean Eggs (Cowboy Style)

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered (80g)
  • ½ cup enoki mushrooms (50g)
  • ½ cup kimchi (with juice), roughly sliced (100g)
  • ¼ cup tomato passata
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small red onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 large red chilli
  • Grated cheese (optional)
  • Salt (to season)
  • Black pepper and buttered crusty bread, to serve

Method

Preheat your oven’s overhead grill. Heat a small cast iron or other ovenproof pan until very hot. Add the olive oil and sautee the onions, tomatoes, chilli, mushrooms and kimchi until all are softened and nearly cooked through. Add the tomato passata and vinegar and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Taste and season.

Make two small wells in the mixture in the pan and crack an egg into each. (If you wish, you can now scatter the top with a little grated cheese). Transfer the pan to your grill and grill the top for about 3-4 minutes until the whites of the eggs are set but the yolks are still runny. The heat of the pan will continue to cook the eggs from the bottom.

Grind over a little black pepper, scatter with some coriander leaves and serve with some buttered crusty bread.

Note: For a more mild version, you could reduce the amount of chilli or substitute with thinly sliced red capsicum.

Smoked Banana Ice Cream

The things on the left are the smoked bananas

I came back from the gym and a long bike ride today and immediately made ice cream. I think there is something fundamentally wrong with my approach to exercise… Still, the results were delicious. This is actually one of the best ice cream’s I’ve ever made.

Smoked bananas are a snack food around Asia, and can be found in some Asian grocers. Small bananas are sliced, strongly smoked and partially dehydrated. The flavour may not be to everyone’s taste. A friend recently described the taste as ‘chewing on a wet cigar’, but don’t let that ringing endorsement put you off. The flavours and aromas are strong and complex with rich tobacco, vanilla and molasses notes, the sweetness of brown sugar and a mellow banana flavour. Those elements tempered and adjusted in ice cream form create a beautiful combination. I’ve used a heavy custard base here to stand up to the very strong flavours in the smoked banana.

This ice cream has a thick, creamy texture (it actually holds without melting for 5-10 minutes at room temperature) which matches extremely well with the smoky sweetness of the banana. The strength of it is that you probably couldn’t sit and eat a whole tub in a sitting – it’s more of a ‘one-scooper’ – but it would work well as an accompaniment in a multi-element dessert. In the future I might be tempted to serve this with a slice of toasted coconut cake, or even some croutons of banana bread for texture. Either way, I think I’m going to need to go to the gym again…

  • 70g smoked banana
  • 350ml full cream milk
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 400ml cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla paste

Roughly chop the smoked bananas and place in a small saucepan with cold milk. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat and leave to cool and infuse for 30 minutes. Puree the banana and milk in a blender until very smooth.

Beat the egg yolks and caster sugar together until foamy, pale and tripled in size. In a saucepan, bring the cream to the boil and then quickly whisk half of the hot cream into the egg mixture. Transfer the whisked egg mixture back into the remaining cream in the saucepan and whisk over low heat until it forms a loose custard that will coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard into the banana mixture and fold together. Transfer to a metal bowl sitting inside another larger bowl of ice and water and cool the mixture quickly by continuing to stir it for 5-10 minutes. Freeze in an ice cream churn until set.